We’ll see you in court, Natural England

Yesterday, Wild Justice’s lawyers issued the claim form seeking permission for judicial review of Natural England’s decision to issue the General Licences GL04-06 on 1 January 2019.

We haven’t yet got a nice court seal on our claim form as there is a backlog, apparently. We have notified Natural England of our application for judicial review.

You may recall that we sent a Pre Action Protocol letter to NE on 13 February and they should have responded two weeks later but instead they asked for another two weeks, a doubling of the time normally allocated for such a response. We rather kindly said they could have another week but NE took two weeks to send us a confused and inadequate response.

During that four-week period we did not name NE as the public body whose decision we were challenging and nor did we indicate that the General Licences were our area of concern. We have dealt with NE with more sympathy and patience than they deserve during this period.

The NE response received on 13 March indicated that they would need to consult their Board on this matter and that would happen on 20 March and they would be in a position to respond further on 21 March.

We launched our crowdfunder on 15 March, a week ago, and have already raised over £30,000 of the £36,000 we need to take this case all the way through the courts. Thank you to all who have donated – we are touched and relieved by the level of support.

As we had not received a response from NE by 4pm yesterday we went ahead with our request for judicial review as we believe we have a very strong case and that NE are basically just mucking us about. We still have not received a response from NE but things have moved on now.

Is the statutory nature conservation agency for England about to admit that it has issued unlawful General Licences year after year? Or will we have to go to court to prove that?

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3 Replies to “We’ll see you in court, Natural England”

  1. I have, for interest, looked up the legislation, some idea of which was noted on the RPUK website.
    I list below the parts which I thought were most relevant.
    As it is now the subject of a possible Judicial Review, I shall not comment at all on the content.
    "(1A)The appropriate authority—
    (a)shall not grant a licence for any purpose mentioned in subsection (1) unless it is satisfied that, as regards that purpose, there is no other satisfactory solution; and
    (b)shall not grant a licence for any purpose mentioned in paragraphs (e) to (h) of that subsection otherwise than on a selective basis and in respect of a small number of birds.]
    (5)Subject to [F10subsections (5A) and (6)], a licence under the foregoing provisions of this section—
    (a)may be, to any degree, general or specific;
    (b)may be granted either to persons of a class or to a particular person;
    (c)may be subject to compliance with any specified conditions;
    (d)may be modified or revoked at any time by the appropriate authority; and
    (e)subject to paragraph (d), shall be valid for the period stated in the licence;and the appropriate authority may charge therefor such reasonable sum (if any) as they may determine.
    5A)A licence under subsection (1) which authorises any action in respect of wild birds—
    (a)shall specify the species of wild birds in respect of which, the circumstances in which, and the conditions subject to which, the action may be taken;
    (b)shall specify the methods, means or arrangements which are authorised or required for the taking of the action; and
    (c)subject to subsection (5)(d), shall be valid for the period, not exceeding two years, stated in the licence.]
    (6)A licence under subsection [F12(2) or (3)] which authorises any person to kill wild birds or wild animals—
    (a)shall specify the area within which, and the methods by which the wild birds or wild animals may be killed; and
    (b)subject to subsection (5)(d), shall be valid for the period, not exceeding two years, stated in the licence.
    8)For the purposes of a licence granted under the foregoing provisions of this section, the definition of a class of persons may be framed by reference to any circumstances whatever including, in particular, their being authorised by any other person."

  2. Can something stop my neighbour from shooting birds from the windows of his suburban semi? He has hit other houses and endangers both children, adults and animals in their gardens. (He also uses a bow and arrow and these end up in other gardens too). The police say there is nothing they can do to stop him until he actually injures someone. He has a licence. He particularly hates parakeets - “foreigners’ he calls them.
    I wish we had a way of stopping this sort of dangerous brutality.

    1. The police are WRONG!

      If a projectile fired from an airgun, or any other gun ends up on someone else's property, the offence of ARMED TRASPASS is committed. The penalty for armed trespass is;
      Trespassing with an air weapon 3 months imprisonment and / or £2,500 fine.
      Trespassing on private land with an air weapon 3 months imprisonment and / or £2,500 fine


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